RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — After attending the coronation of King Carlos III in London, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva denounced the lack of concerted efforts to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been four years in British Belmarsh Prison.

“It is a shame that a journalist who denounced deceit by one State against another is arrested, sentenced to die in prison and we do nothing to free him. It’s crazy,” Lula told reporters. “We talk about freedom of expression; the guy is in prison because he denounced misdeeds. And the press does nothing in defense of this journalist. I can not understand it.

Lula offered the comments in response to a question about Assange, who is a native of Australia. She said that she had forgotten to discuss the matter with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, but that she would write to him when she returned to Brazil.

Assange has been fighting extradition to the United States, and Lula’s comments come at a time when he has shown little reluctance to express his differences of opinion with Washington on geopolitical issues, particularly his opposition to providing weapons to Ukraine for its war against Russia, and accusing the United States and Europe of encouraging the fight. His position and repeated statements by him have attracted Strong reproaches from the White House and Europe.

For its part, Australia has been stepping up diplomatic pressure on the US government to suspend Assange’s prosecution.

On Friday, Australia’s Albanian Prime Minister told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview that “ Enough is enough. There is no use in the imprisonment of him in progress ”. Last November, Albanese told Parliament that his “position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration: that it is time for this matter to be closed.”

Assange has fought in British courts for years to avoid being sent to the United States, where he faces 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer misuse stemming from WikiLeaks’ publication of a large number of classified documents in 2010.

US prosecutors allege he helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks later released, putting lives in danger.

To his supporters, Assange is a journalist who breaks secrets and exposes US military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I think there should be a global press movement in his defense. Not for his person, but for defending the right to denounce,” Lula told reporters. The press, which defends the freedom of the press, does nothing to free this citizen. It’s sad, but it’s true.”

Last year, Assange’s father, John Shipton. tried to convince the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador to raise the issue of his son’s prosecution with the top US diplomat, and to get Australian Albanians to raise the issue with US President Joe Biden at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral .

In his comments to reporters on Saturday, Lula also pointed out that Carlos III asked him to take care of the Amazon jungle and that he replied that he needs resources to do so. Prime Minister Sunak on Friday pledged to contribute £80 million ($101 million) to Brazil’s Amazon Fund that aims to stop deforestation, building on contributions from Norway and Germany, as well as a recent pledge by Biden to seek congressional approval for $500 million.

But Lula told reporters that the amount promised by Britain “is not enough.”


Pollastri reported from Sao Paulo

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